Best of Brass Concert

Saturday November 18th 2023 saw the band head over the Severn Bridge to take part in a concert outside Wales for what is believed to be the first time!

Held at the Salvation Army Hall in Easton, Bristol, the ‘Best of Brass’ concert featured Filton Concert Brass and Pontardulais Town Band, along with guest Euphonium soloist Daniel Thomas, of the Cory Band.

Filton Concert Brass, with guest conductor Anri Adachi, opened the concert and chose to perform their recent Wychavon Festival of Brass set, before accompanying Daniel on ‘Rhapsody for Euphonium and Brass Band’.

The second part of the concert saw Pontardulais Town Band, conducted by Paul Jenkins, take to the stage to perform their own selection of pieces and to accompany Daniel on ‘In Gardens of Peace’ and ‘Fantasie Originale’.

The final part of the concert saw both bands combine to perform four pieces together, with Anri and Paul sharing conducting duties, appropriately closing with a rendition of ‘Fire in the Blood’ – a piece which was originally commissioned to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army.

All proceeds from the concert went towards the Salvation Army’s work in the Easton region of Bristol.

The full programme of music from the concert is below.

Filton Concert Brass (Anri Adachi)

Clans CollidePhilip Harper
Cry Me a River
Cornet Soloist: Neil Allen
Arthur Hamilton arr. TBC
AdagioSamuel Barber arr. Keith Griffin
I Got RhythmGeorge Gershwin arr. Alan Fernie
Thunder and LightningJohann Strauss arr. Frank Wright
Rhapsody for Euphonium and Brass Band
Euphonium Soloist: Daniel Thomas
Johan Evenepoel

Pontardulais Town Band (Paul Jenkins)

Amazonia (from Windows of the World)Peter Graham
Sosban FachGareth Wood
In Gardens of Peace
Euphonium Soloist: Daniel Thomas
Philip Harper
Fantasie Originale
Euphonium Soloist: Daniel Thomas
Ermanno Picchi/Simone Mantia
arr. Margaret Antrobus
Finale from Symphony No IVPyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
arr. William Gordon

Massed Bands

March – PraiseWilfred Heaton
Banana IslandEtienne Crausaz
Nimrod (from Enigma Variations)Edward Elgar arr. Eric Ball
Fire in the BloodPaul Lovatt-Cooper
ENCORE – Climb Every MountainRichard Rodgers and
Oscar Hammerstein
arr. Philip Harper

Mid-Table Finish at the British Open Spring Festival

The band once again competed in the Senior Trophy at the British Open Spring Festival on Saturday 13th May 2023. The contest was held in the Spanish Hall at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, with the set test piece ‘The Accursed Huntsman’ by Cesar Franck and arranged by Edrich Siebert, selected to challenge the competing bands.

The band were placed 13th in a field of 21 bands, with Mark Wilkinson and Brett Baker as adjudicators.

A highlight of the day was one of our Academy Band members, Iolo Evans, making his first contest appearance with the senior band, playing bass drum, alongside his dad on Flugel Horn.

Full results for the contest are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1Thundersley BrassMelvin White16
2AmershamPaul Fisher12
3Stannington BrassSam Fisher14
4TylorstownRobert Westacott15
5Tongwynlais TemperanceOwen Farr13
6Blackburn & DarwenDaniel Thomas5
7Unison KinneilRaymond Tennant21
8Eccles BoroughJon Davis6
9LongridgeMark Peacock7
10Yorkshire ImperialGarry Hallas17
11Easington CollieryStephen Malcolm18
12Ebbw Valley BrassGareth Ritter19
13PontardulaisPaul Jenkins10
14EnderbyStephen Phillips8
15Parc & DareDewi Griffiths9
16Haverhill SilverPaul Filby2
17Filton Concert BrassNathan Jenkins1
18Vernon Building SocietyAdam Delbridge-Smith3
19Thoresby CollierySimon Oates20
20Bo’ness & CarridenCharlie Farren4
21Haftield & Askern CollieryStan Lippeat11

Best Instrumentalist: Keith Schroeter – Horn (Thundersley)

Championship Section Return at the Welsh Regionals

Following its victory in the 1st Section at the Welsh Regional Championships in 2022, the band was promoted to the Championship Section for the 2023 contest, which was held on Sunday 19th March 2023 at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea.

Making its first appearance in the top section in Wales since 2013, the band faced the challenege of performing the set test piece, ‘Red Priest’ by Philip Wilby.

The band achieved 6th place in a very strong field of 7 bands.

Full results for the section are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1Tredegar Town BandIan Porthouse1
2Cory BandPhilip Harper2
3Llwydcoed BandJoshua Ruck3
4City of Cardiff (M1) BandChris Bond7
5Tongwynlais Temperance BandOwen Farr4
6Pontardulais Town BandPaul Jenkins5
7Tylorstown BandGary Davies6

Best Instrumentalist: Robert Westacott – Soprano (Tredegar Town Band)
Best Cornet: Tom Hutchinson – Cory Band
Best Basses: Cory Band

Welsh Open Title Defence

The band kicked off its 2023 contesting season, hoping to defend its title of ‘Welsh Open Champions’, with an appearance at the Welsh Open Entertainment Contest, held at The Riverfront in Newport on February 18th 2023.

Welsh Open 2023
Pontardulais Town Band
Photo credit: Welsh Open Brass Band Entertainment Championship Facebook

Fourteen Championship and First Section bands competed, with adjudicator Glyn Williams given the task of selecting a winner. Unfortunately, the band was unable to hold onto the CISWO Challenge Trophy, but was pleased with its performance, once again narrated by radio DJ and local Swansea personality, Kev Johns. The band choose to present the following programme:

  • A Fantasy of Joy, Fredrick Schjelderup
  • O Verona, Craigh Armstrong arr. Philip Harper
  • Banana Island, Etienne Crausaz
  • Ar Lan y Môr, Welsh Traditional arr. Leigh Baker
  • Enchanted Kingdom, Paul Lovatt-Cooper

Full results for the contest ar shown below.

PositionBandConductorDrawPoints
1Ebbw Valley BrassGareth Ritter12198
2Llwydcoed BandJoshua Ruck7197
3City of Cardiff (M1) BandChris Bond14196
4Burry Port Town BandAndrew Jones13194
5Parc & Dare BandDewi Griffiths2193
6Brunel BrassDaniel Hall5192
7Filton Concert BrassNathan Jenkins3191
8Tongwynlais Temperance BandOwen Farr9190
9Pontardulais Town BandPaul Jenkins4189
10Jackfield Brass BandRyan Richards10188
11Michelmersh Silver BandMelvin White11187
12Tylorstown BandGary Davies8186
13B. T. M. BandJeff Hutcherson6185
14Lewis Merthyr BandCraig Roberts1184

Highest Placed First Section Band not in Prizes: B. T. M. Band

Most Entertaining Stage Presentation: Llwydcoed Band

Best Soloist: Philip Howells – Xylophone (Ebbw Valley Brass)

Best Cornet Player: Andrew Smith (Llwydcoed Band)

4BR Best Soprano Player: Tom King (Llwydcoed Band)

Best Horn Section: Brunel Brass

Best Percussion Section: Ebbw Valley Brass

Youngest Instrumentalist: Sioned Evans (Burry Port)

Invitation to compete at the 2023 Spring Festival: Burry Port

National Finals 2022

The band was placed 9th in the First Section Final of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, held at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, on September 17th 2022. The band gained the invitation to represent Wales at the contest through winning the First Section at the Welsh Regional Championships in March.

All 16 competing bands were required to perform the set test piece ‘Trittico’ by James Curnow, with three adjudicators to impress – Roger Webster, Ian Porthouse and Gary Davies.

Full results for the section are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1StanningtonSam Fisher15
2Marsden Silver PrizeAndrew Lofthouse13
3StaffordshireCraig Williams14
4Sandhurst SilverDavid Johnson16
5Acceler8Jef Sparkes8
6Ebbw ValleyGareth Ritter1
7Ashton under LyneMartyn Evans6
8Bo’ness & CarridenCharlie Farren9
9Pontardulais TownPaul Jenkins7
10HydeNigel Seaman2
11Dalkeith & MonktonhallJames Chamberlain3
12Kirbymoorside TownSarah Woodward11
13Gresley CollieryCraig Stevens10
14East of England Co-opNigel Cooper4
15HoughtonMichael Franey5
16Bodmin TownSimon Badge12

Best Instrumentalist: Rachel Dines – Flugelhorn (Ashton under Lyne)

Return to the the British Open Spring Festival

Having received an invitation to compete at the British Open Spring Festival as a result of its victory in the Welsh Open Championship in February, the band returned to Blackpool for the first time since 2013 to compete in the Senior Trophy.

Held in the Spanish Hall at the Winter Gardens on 7th May 2022, the band performed the set test piece, ‘Life Divine’, by (Swansea-born composer!) Cyril Jenkins.

The band achieved an excellent 7th place in a field of 22 bands, its highest ever position in the competition! The adjudicators for the contest were Sandy Smith and Simon Gresswell.

The band were very grateful to receive funding from the Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm Community Fund to cover the transport costs for the weekend.

Full results for the contest are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1Unite the UnionJonathan Beatty20
2Boarshurst SilverJamie Prophet10
3FishburnDuncan Beckley18
4East London BrassJayne Murrill19
5TylorstownGary Davies1
6EnderbyStephen Phillips13
7PontardulaisPaul Jenkins21
8Unison KinneilRaymond Tennant2
9Hatfield & Askern CollieryStan Lippeatt6
10Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart TravelGarry Hallas5
11Eccles BoroughMareika Gray22
12Easington CollieryStephen Malcolm4
13Thundersley BrassMelvin White11
14AmershamPaul Fisher3
15Marsden SilverAndrew Lofthouse12
16Sovereign BrassStephen Roberts8
17Bo’ness & CarridenAndrew Duncan14
18LydbrookStephen Sykes17
19Crofton SilverDean Jones15
20Roberts BakeryPaul Lovatt-Cooper9
21StaffordshireCraig Williams7
22JackfieldRyan Richards16

Best Instrumentalist: Sarah Curtis – Trombone (Unite the Union)

Welsh Regional Championships Winners

Having recently won the Welsh Open Championships, the band was delighted to follow it up with victory in the 1st Section at the Welsh Regional Championships!

Returning to the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea on 19th March 2022, having last been held at the Great Hall on Swansea University’s Bay Campus in 2020, this was the first Welsh Regional Championships to take place following the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Best Instrumentalist – Lyndon Harris

With the victory comes an invitation to represent Wales at the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, to be held at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse on 17th September 2022.

The set test piece for the contest was ‘Spectrum’ by Gilbert Vinter, with the band competing in a field of 7 bands. As well as claiming the main trophy, the band’s euphonium player, Lyndon Harris, added to his growing collection of individual awards by claiming the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ prize.

Full results for the section are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1Pontardulais Town BandPaul Jenkins6
2Ebbw Valley BrassGareth Ritter3
3B. T. M. BandJeff Hutcherson7
4Lewis Merthyr BandCraig Roberts2
5Parc & Dare BandNigel Seaman5
6Deiniolen Silver BandKeith Jones4
7Markham & District BandJayne Thomas1

Best instrumentalist: Lyndon Harris – Euphonium (Pontardulais Town Band)

A full report for the contest from 4barsrest.com can be read by following this link.

Positive comments on the band’s performance from 4barsrest.com were as follows:

From 4barsrest.comWe waited a long time to hear two really authentic high quality First Section performances of ‘Spectrum’ and then we got them to close the contest.

The first came from Pontardulais, playing with bold confidence after their recent Welsh Open victory. That was carried forward here — helped by a wonderfully cohesive reading by the MD which was stuck to like Aroldite glue by his players.

This was glossy, high sheen stuff as oily as a palette of Dulux gloss and brushed on with the care and attention of a Vermeer rather than a Jackson Pollack. Little moments of unease, but it didn’t tarnish the canvas on which it was placed. Nicely done in all aspects that — very nicely done indeed.

From 4barsrest.com on TwitterThe most cohesive rendition so far from a bold but refined @pontardulaisband MD gave real definition to each colouring too – aided by fine soloists and balanced ensemble. Nice.

Welsh Open Champions 2022!

Pontardulais Town Band – Welsh Open Champions!
Photo credit: 4barsrest.com

For the first time in its history, the band was delighted to win the Welsh Open Brass Band Championship!

The first contest held in Wales since the beginning of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic was hosted at The Riverfront in Newport on February 20th and saw the band compete in a field of 13 Championship and First Section bands.

Previously held at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, this Entertainment Contest sees each band perform a programme of music up to 20 minutes in duration and this year was adjudicated by Dr Robert Childs, with David Francis given the task of selecting the winner of the ‘Most Entertaining Stage Presentation’ award.

A late personnel change as a result of COVID-19 Coronavirus restrictions saw regular conductor, Paul Jenkins, swap his baton for a trombone, with Matthew Jenkins taking over conducting duties.

Best Horn Section – Pontardulais Town Band

In addition to winning the CISWO Challenge Trophy and the £1,000 prize, the band’s horn section were awarded the prize for the ‘Best Horn Section’.

The result also saw the band gain an invitation to compete in the Senior Trophy contest at the Spring Festival in Blackpool on May 7th 2022.

The band chose to perform the following programme, complemented by a video presentation and narrated by radio DJ and local Swansea personality, Kev Johns.

  • Nordic Polska, Anders Edenroth & Matti Kallio arr. Philip Harper
  • Trust in Me, Sherman & Sherman arr. Philip Harper
  • Fantasy on London Nursery Rhymes, Dan Price
  • An Evening Prayer, Engelbert Humperdinck arr. Robert Childs
  • Tale of the Dragon, Paul Lovatt-Cooper

Full results for the contest are shown below.

PositionBandConductorDrawPoints
1Pontardulais Town BandMatthew Jenkins14184
2City of Cardiff (M1) BandChris Bond4183
3Tongwynlais Temperance BandCarl Saunders13181
4Ebbw Valley BrassGareth Ritter2180
5Brunel BrassDaniel Hall10178
6B. T. M. BandJeff Hutcherson12176
7SW Comms BandStephen Sykes7175
8Tylorstown BandGary Davies1173
9Lewis Merthyr BandCraig Roberts8172
10Parc & Dare BandDewi Griffiths11171
11A W Parker Drybrook BandJoshua Ruck5170
12Forest of Dean BrassThomas Dunne3169
13Markham & District BandJayne Thomas6168

Filton Conert Brass, drawn to perform as band number 9, withdrew prior to the contest.

Highest Placed First Section Band not in the Prizes: Ebbw Valley Brass

Most Entertaining Stage Presentation: City of Cardiff (M1) Band

Best Soloist: Megan Newberry – Cornet (SW Comms Band)

Best Cornet Player: Becky Cale (City of Cardiff (M1) Band)

Best Soprano Player: Clint Millter (B. T. M. Band)

Best Horn Section: Pontardulais Town Band

Best Percussion Section: Brunel Brass

Youngest Instrumentalist: Noah Davies (Tylorstown Band)

Invitation to Compete at the 2022 Spring Festival Senior Trophy: Pontardulais Town Band